UK mutual insurer Standard Life is set to become a major player in the lucrative offshore investment market with investment in products aimed at high-net worth clients, according to a report in the Scotsman newspaper.

The insurer told the newspaper about plans to become one of the top three companies providing offshore investment, with the aim of taking a 20% share of the GBP4 billion UK-sourced offshore market by the end of 2008. Offshore sales would amount to 5% of overall group sales, but 10% of profit due to the high margins.

The division will be based in its Dublin office, with 30 staff employed over the next three years. Edinburgh-based Standard Life has already launched its first product, an international bond, and plans to roll out a portfolio bond later this year.

The Scotsman reported that the group has spent GBP30 million developing its wrap – a product that will allow a range of investment options in one package.